DHS' Customs & Border Protection Division Unveils Fact Sheet on Securing Borders

Fact sheet discusses use of surveillance, adjunct technologies, cargo analysis and more


On May 5, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a fact sheet detailing its use of technologies in the protection of borders and port entries. The fact sheet (published below) details such implemented technologies as radiation isotope identification, video surveillance, gamma and X-ray systems, and more. The fact sheet, though not overly detailed, provides a snapshot view of what's being rolled out currently along the U.S. borders, ports and airports.

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Fact Sheet: CBP Securing Our Borders Inspection and Surveillance Technologies

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses multiple strategies and employs the latest in technology to accomplish its goals of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, while also facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Officers and agents use various technologies in different combinations to dramatically strengthen our ability to detect terrorist weapons.

CBP's detection, inspection and surveillance tools range from sophisticated analytical computer data bases to gamma-ray and X-ray imaging systems, radiation isotope identifiers, explosive detectors, and sensors and cameras located along isolated stretches of border.

CBP employs a wide array of Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology to serve as a force multiplier and to complement the work of CBP officers, canine enforcement officers and Border Patrol agents in guarding America from terrorism. These technologies serve a vital function in day-to-day inspection and movement of tens of thousand of passengers, pedestrians, vehicles, trucks, cargo containers and baggage, at our borders and ports of entry.

Technology at the official entry points:

Technologies deployed to our nation's land, sea, and airports of entry include large-scale X-ray and gamma-imaging systems. CBP has also deployed radiation detection technology including personal radiation detectors (PRDs), radiation isotope identifiers, and radiation portal monitors.

Technology between ports of entry:

CBP is securing the areas between ports of entry by implementing a comprehensive border enforcement strategy, expanding, integrating, and coordinating the use of technology and communications including Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS), and Geographic Information System (GIS).

Air and marine assets:

CBP also has an Air and Marine Operations Center in Riverside, CA (AMOC) with extensive surveillance and database capabilities. AMOC is providing the radar and communications piece of CBP's airspace security system in place over Washington, D.C. and has provided this same extensive radar surveillance capability for a number of significant events, including the Olympics and Super Bowl. Air assets include UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, Astar helicopters, as well as C-210, C-12, and long-range P-3 Orion fixed-wing aircraft. The marine fleet includes 39-foot interceptor vessels, 33-foot SAFE boats, various utility craft, and large ocean-going support and radar platform vessels.

CBP information, inspection and surveillance technologies include:

Automated Targeting System (ATS): enables CBP to collect and analyze cargo shipping data, to distinguish and select high-risk shipments for further review and examination. CBP uses the data collected through legislative and regulatory actions to identify cargo that could pose a potential risk, prior to their arrival.

Radiation Portal Monitor: a detection device that provides CBP with a passive, non-intrusive means to screen trucks, cargo containers, rail cars, passenger vehicles, and other conveyances for radiation emanating from nuclear devices, dirty bombs, special nuclear materials, natural sources, and isotopes commonly used in medicine and industry. There are more than 473 installed nationwide with plans for continued expansion.

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